Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Planning veg supplies  (Read 407 times)

JoG

  • Joined Jun 2020
Planning veg supplies
« on: June 14, 2020, 08:09:11 pm »
Hello!
We are just moving to our Welsh Smallholding
.
When in comes to veg, we’ve got lots of space. I’m planning near self sufficiency if that’s practical but I’m looking for advice on planning what goes where and what’s realistic.
2 adults, 2 kids.

We’ve a big poly tunnel - iro 4x10 m
A kitchen garden to be revitalised- iro 18m^2 raised beds
Lots of virgin ground near poly tunnel.

Presumably spuds and onions are space hungry.
I’ve been doing veg for some years and probably produce about 50% of our needs.

Any pointers gratefully received.

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2020, 02:25:17 pm »
I am replying to follow this thread as we also want to increase our food production and would be keen to hear what is suggested. You sound as if you are already well on the way to growing all your veg! We have a veg plot similar to the one you described and a poly tunnel. Tbh the poly tunnel here is really only being used as an enormous green house with tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines all in pots. I realise there is a lot of potential there yet to be realised.
Also wanted to welcome you to Wales! Where about are you moving to.

Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2020, 02:46:35 pm »
We produce all our own veg - it’s certainly possible- with storage...we have a 18 x 48 foot polytunnel, a 6x8 greenhouse and large veg garden. I also used to supply veg boxes June to Dec.

Not sure where to start but I would suggest - making your beds the same size, ideally long and thin (4-5’) so you can purchase netting for Brassicas/carrots which will then fit all your beds- useful for rotations.
Use as little space as possible to reduce work and inputs (manure and water - a problem in Norfolk). Minimise work by using drip irrigation or soaker hose and manure instead of regular feeding - particularly in the summer.
When planning rotations, 2 beds for crops like onions, legumes and potatoes allows early and late sowings without disease passing between the two.
Using the polyt. for hungry gap crops is great - so we can have kohl rabi, mangetout, spring onion and broad beans, mew potatoes in May, with cauliflower and courgette in June. Kale available all year round in polytunnel. This allows plenty of space for toms, cucumbers, peppers. Aubergine do better in a greenhouse in my system.
Plenty if room is needed for legumes outdoors if you want dried beans if you like these.
Also plan storage for roots, potatoes, squash etc - which all require slightly different conditions.
Have fun!

JoG

  • Joined Jun 2020
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2020, 07:18:50 pm »
Thank you both - we’re coming to near Llangollen.
Good tip re storage. Yes, I agree re aubergines.
What I’m struggling with is figuring out how much of various crops are required and therefore how much space to allocate.
Good idea re similar sized beds.
TTFN

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 08:47:54 pm »
My first advice would be not to do something concrete until you have had a year to learn what a season on your new land is like.  So far this has not been a typical year, but you will get some idea.  You can also learn where the warm and extra cold parts of your new veg garden are, plus just what the soil is like where. 
Clearly someone else has used your smallholding before you, so you are buying into all their pests, diseases and soil problems, so don't expect that first year to be plain sailing with success all the way.  You can become self sufficient in most foods eventually but give it time to develop.


Until this year I have always grown on the flat, in rows, using a Mantis to keep the weeds away between rows.  But we all get older and stiffer so this year we have made six beds in our tunnel, which cover a bit less than half the floor area.  We also have our greenhouse in the tunnel (it's a bit windy up here) for chillies and peppers (should have been aubergines too but they got infested so were burned. The tunnel is 7m x 14m so 21 feet by 42 feet, but tunnels are never big enough! In the beds we are growing dwarf french beans, leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, parsnips and loads of green salad stuff.  We also have a mound of compost from the bin into which we plant our courgettes with excellent results.  That compost will be used on the beds next year and we shall make a new mound for next year.


Outside we have two rotating beds (it used to be three but we grassed one over and planted new apple trees).  We use one plot a year, leaving the other covered with a thick layer of poultry house cleanings ( :poo:  and straw) and a tarp, weighted down with breeze blocks.  By the time we get back to the covered bed after a year, the soil is friable and perfectly fertile, also nice and warm.  Sometimes there are a few very white thistle roots to dig out, but otherwise it is ready to plant straight into.  Meanwhile the other bed gets the covered and fertility treatment for the next year. 
In the outdoor area we grow our potatoes, broad beans, peas, leeks and some flowers for cutting, sometimes winter brassicas too; everything else is grown in the tunnel because of the local weather and climate. We haven't had any lambing emergencies for a few years  :fc:  but on occasion we would bring any ewes and lambs in need of indoor care in there in the winter.  During Bird flu we had our poultry in the tunnel all winter and both those events helped the fertility no end. 
But we decided to try using raised beds this year, so we could concentrate our precious compost and FYM only on the areas which needed it.
Our beds are narrow - 3 feet - as we have found that anything wider inevitably leads to standing on the soil to reach the middle. Ours are made of scaffold planks which are cheap but should last many years.  We filled the beds with a mix of molehill soil (we have lovely volcanic soil), spent mushroom compost which we bought in in 2 x 1 ton sacks (fitted neatly in the sheep trailer!), FYM, compost, whatever was left of last years multipurpose, liberal seaweed meal, woodash from the logburner (our own coppice wood) and anything else we had around. We shall top them up each year.
A few years ago the soil in the tunnel seemed to get exhausted somehow in spite of annual refreshing with compost, manure, seaweed meal, ash and molehill soil. We still have a huge problem with spider mite, mice, occasionally rats, and pigeons and cabbage whites coming in the louvres.
For planting on the flat in the tunnel, we grow climbing beans, beetroot, cauliflowers (currently coming out of our ears!) and winter brassicas (some years our outdoor crop is flattened and rotted by snow lying for a long time).
Being in a rather extreme area, I don't bother with successional growing other than for salads - instead I try to have in-season veg year round, and store large quantities of summer gluts in the freezer and as preserves, plus roots and top fruit in boxes of straw.


What have we learned?  Don't do everything at once - smallholding life is hard and everything always takes longer than you expect so start slowly and work up to your full self sufficiency gradually over 2 or 3 years. Give your plants greater spacing than you think they will need.  Mechanise or use mulches to keep the weeds down. Experiment with plant varieties as your old favourites might not do well in the new site. For us even potatoes which had previously been failsafe failed (our land used to be a potato farm so we need blight resisant varieties of tomatoes as well as potatoes).  When you up the scale of your production, also up the scale of your equipment, making it tough and sturdy - products intended for garden use simply don't stand up to large scale use.


Our growing methods are geared towards reducing the amount of work we have to do - mulches and mechanisation  :garden:


We usually eat most or all home produced veg, salad and in-season fruit at 2 of our meals each day.  That is our reward for all the hard work.


This is rather long but please pick out anything which might be relevant and of use to you.

www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

JoG

  • Joined Jun 2020
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2020, 02:12:55 pm »
Thank you so much for sharing all you have learned.
Lots to consider there. I’ve not come across using mushroom compost before - is this particularly desirable or just an accident of where you are?

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2020, 06:44:06 pm »
Thank you so much for sharing all you have learned.
Lots to consider there. I’ve not come across using mushroom compost before - is this particularly desirable or just an accident of where you are?

No, this is the first year I have been able to find a local supplier.  I have become a disciple of Charles Dowding and his methods, which involve loads and loads of mushroom compost used as a mulch.  He has a youtube channel and has written several really useful books, mostly around his growing methods of no dig and mulching.  Take a peek: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=charles+dowding   In this context, compost does not mean seed compost like multipurpose, it is used more to mean garden compost, a fertility additive and mulch.  In fact you can't sow into it at all so I start all my plants off in modules and small pots then plant them into prepared holes.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 06:48:25 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Planning veg supplies
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2020, 11:39:56 pm »
Thank you both - we’re coming to near Llangollen.
Good tip re storage. Yes, I agree re aubergines.
What I’m struggling with is figuring out how much of various crops are required and therefore how much space to allocate.
Good idea re similar sized beds.
TTFN

 Sounds daft but use Excel &plan each weeks meals for your family for a year . You'll start to see  how much crop & when to plants/sow it that you'll need in a year .
 
It might take you a few days using either seed packet information  or info from DG Hessayon's , " The Vegetable & Herb Expert " book
 It's one of the best sowing & cropping plans I've ever come up with . to find out the information and the crops you might want to grow .

PM me your address & I'll send you a blank & an old used sheet or you can come & collect it in person from Ammanford .

 These days I have an A2 printed veg 7 flower planning chart that I designed .. I can run 30 or mor crops per sheet  as sow dates plant out & likely harvest times .
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

 

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